1. Message from the Commissioner

The ABCC’s 2021-22 Corporate Plan sets the agency’s strategic direction for the next 4 years to ensure building work in Australia is carried out fairly, efficiently and productively — for the benefit of employers, workers and the national economy.

The building and construction industry has played an important role in keeping the economy afloat throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to be a key driver to stimulate the economy into the future.

In this context, it is essential that the ABCC remains flexible and responsive in all its activities. Our 2021-22 Corporate Plan builds on the achievements of the past 12 months with the ABCC’s 8 key performance indicators (KPIs) continuing to guide our activities and measure our performance.

From 1 July 2021, refreshed reporting requirements for regulator performance come into effect, as part of the Australian Government’s Deregulation Agenda.

The 2021-22 Corporate Plan therefore sets out the ABCC’s commitment to being a best practice regulator with reference to the 3 principles of:

  1. continuous improvement and building trust
  2. risk-based and data-driven
  3. collaboration and engagement.

This includes outcomes-based measures which will be reported on in the 2021-22 Annual Report alongside the established KPIs.

The ABCC is focused on helping those that want to comply with the law, while taking appropriate action against those that choose to disregard it.

Stephen McBurney

Commissioner
Australian Building and Construction Commission


2. Introduction

I, Stephen John McBurney, as the accountable authority of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), present the ABCC’s 2021–22 Corporate Plan, which covers the period 2021–22 to 2024–25, as required under section 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).


3. Our Purpose

Upholding the law and changing behaviour to make the building and construction industry fair, efficient and productive.

This purpose is in line with our responsibility under the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act).

To ensure we are a responsive regulator and achieve our purpose over the 4-year period of this plan, we will

  • Educate
  • Advise and assist
  • Impartially monitor and assess compliance
  • Use litigation and other enforcement options to drive a change in behaviour
  • Promote an impartial, flexible and innovative workforce

4. Strategic objectives and key activities

To ensure we are a responsive regulator and achieve our purpose over the four-year period of this plan, we will:

Educate

  • use our full range of communication tools and channels to extend our reach across the industry
  • target our education to provide information that people need in a way they can easily understand and access
  • use data to respond to changing industry trends and inform the deployment of new education programs.

Advise and assist

  • respond to every enquiry in a timely manner
  • identify additional and innovative ways to interact with agency stakeholders
  • use business intelligence and data analytics to provide insights into areas of risk or heightened industrial activity.

Impartially monitor and assess compliance

  • use our compliance activities to drive better outcomes
  • promote targeted compliance informed by intelligence
  • employ diverse methods to monitor compliance.

Use litigation and other enforcement options to drive a change in behaviour

  • progress investigations and litigation in a timely manner
  • utilise the full range of enforcement tools available
  • seek the imposition of personal payment orders in appropriate cases to achieve deterrence.

Promote an impartial, flexible and innovative workforce

  • use learnings from the pandemic to reform the way we work and how we deliver services in a post-pandemic environment
  • maintain high levels of employee wellbeing, engagement and innovation
  • continue to recruit and develop the best people available.

5. Operating Context

Environment

The building and construction industry is a key driver of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. Since the onset of the pandemic, several large infrastructure programs have been announced by the government to stimulate the economy. This includes the Australian Government’s $110 billion 10-year investment pipeline.

Capability

The ABCC is committed to the recruitment, development and retention of a highly engaged, skilled and professional workforce. We have achieved positive results over multiple years in the APS Census. This achievement reflects our ongoing commitment to staff wellbeing.

The ABCC has a flexible and agile workforce that enables it to respond to issues as they arise in different jurisdictions across Australia.

During the pandemic, the ABCC fostered a culture of continuous improvement and employed innovative practices to ensure the ongoing safety and productivity of staff. Many of these initiatives have now become part of normal operational activities to increase the agency’s regulatory reach.

Managing risks

The ABCC monitors and manages risks that affect our ability to achieve our strategic objectives and operational activities.

The ABCC adopts a flexible approach to all our activities. This will ensure we do not add burden to building industry participants working to stimulate the economy throughout the pandemic and that we comply with any applicable health and safety protocols.

The ABCC’s risk management framework consists of policies and procedures that provide a structured approach to the management of risk and the development of a positive risk culture. The main elements of our risk management framework are:

  • the ABCC Risk Management Policy 
  • Risk Management Strategy and Plan 
  • the ABCC Strategic Risk Register 
  • operational risk profiles 
  • risk assessment and reporting tools.

The risk management framework complies with section 16 of the PGPA Act, the Commonwealth Risk Management Policy, and AS ISO 31000:2018 Risk management – Guidelines.

Cooperation

The ABCC has cooperative and collaborative relationships with Commonwealth and State and Territory regulators, including the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission.

The ABCC has redirected several staff to other agencies to assist in the critical whole-of-government response to the pandemic. This has provided learning and development opportunities and established critical networks that we will continue to utilise.

The ABCC remains flexible, committed and ready to respond to issues as they arise around Australia.


6. Measuring our success

Our key performance indicators and targets

The goal of the ABCC (our purpose) is to uphold the law and change behaviour to make the building and construction industry fair, efficient and productive. Our strategic objectives and key activities describe what we will do to deliver on this legislated purpose and the services we provide to the building and construction industry.

The primary KPIs that assess our delivery of these external-facing services are contained in the Portfolio Budget Statements and this Corporate Plan.

In line with the requirements of the PGPA Act, we will assess our performance against our objectives and KPI targets in the annual performance statement contained in the ABCC’s Annual Report, tabled in October each year by the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations. Through this annual process we demonstrate our accountability and transparency to the Minister, the Parliament, and the Australian public.

Table 1: Measuring our success against our objectives

Strategic objective KPI Measure Performance Target PBS KPI
2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25
Educate 1 Surveyed stakeholders who indicate that tools and resources provided by the ABCC have improved their understanding of workplace rights and responsibilities. 80% 80% 80% 80%
Advise and assist 2 Number of presentations delivered to stakeholders. 175 175 175 175
3 Surveyed stakeholders who are satisfied or highly satisfied with the quality and timeliness of advice and assistance provided. 80% 80% 80% 80%
4 Number of site visits undertaken nationally. 1,250 1,300 1,350 1,400 N/A
Impartially monitor and assess compliance 5 Average time taken to assess enterprise agreements for compliance with the Building Code 2016. 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month N/A
6 Number of activities conducted to improve compliance with designated building laws and the building codes. 475 500 500 500
Use litigation and other enforcement options to drive a change in behaviour 7 Average time taken to commence civil penalty proceedings. <12 months <12 months <12 months <12 months
8 Percentage of successful civil penalty proceedings. 80% 80% 80% 80% N/A

Our performance as a best practice regulator

The ABCC utilises processes under the PGPA Act to report on our performance as a regulator. This is in line with the Government’s expectations for the performance of Commonwealth regulators set out in the Regulator Performance Guide under its Deregulation Agenda.

As a best practice regulator, the ABCC’s strategic objectives are undertaken in a way that maintains critical safeguards while reducing regulatory burden, to promote a productive, fair and efficient industry. We do this by applying the 3 principles of regulator best practice:

  1. continuous improvement and building trust
  2. risk-based and data-driven
  3. collaboration and engagement.

As this Corporate Plan sets out, we are committed to the principles of regulator best practice which inform all our activities and we will review and report on the outcome of our regulatory intent each year in our Annual Report.

1. Continuous improvement and building trust

The ABCC is committed to the continuous improvement of its performance through internal and external review and robust feedback mechanisms to ensure building industry participants know their rights and obligations and have access to timely, accurate and trustworthy advice and assistance. We aim to build trust by engaging with stakeholders in a professional, impartial and apolitical manner.

We recognise that a highly skilled and engaged workforce is essential for quality outcomes.

2. Risk-based and data-driven

The ABCC takes a risk-based and data-driven approach to its compliance and enforcement activities. We provide education and assistance to those we regulate to help them comply with the law. We impartially monitor and assess compliance by prioritising resources to the areas of highest risk, leveraging data and technology in the process. We use litigation and enforcement options to drive a change in behaviour. Where we find deliberate, repetitive or serious non-compliance, we escalate as necessary to achieve compliance with the law.

3. Collaboration and engagement

The ABCC proactively engages with building industry participants to stay informed, aware and responsive to changing context and environment.

We collaborate with other regulators and engage with affected stakeholders to achieve compliance with building laws. We aim to resolve issues and rectify breaches wherever possible.

We consult with stakeholders about regulatory decisions that affect them and are transparent in our decision-making and processes.

Table 2: Our performance as a best practice regulator

Objectives Indicator (outcome) Rationale Measure
Educate Building industry participants are informed of their rights and obligations. Building industry participants can be compliant if they know what is required. This encourages voluntary compliance. Maintain diverse and accessible communications channels
Advise and assist Information provided is useful, accurate and timely. Building industry participants contact the ABCC directly for the advice and assistance they need. This assists them to be compliant.

Number of presentations delivered (KPI 2)

% of surveyed stakeholders satisfied with advice (KPI 3)

Response times

Number of enquiries

Impartially monitor and assess compliance Building industry participants comply with the law.

Encourages rectification and compliance without the need for litigation options and provides a proportionate response.

Compliance activities are diverse, targeted and informed by intelligence.

ABCC’s actions contribute to the reduction of significant industrial events.

Assessment times (KPI 5)

Number of compliance activities (KPI 6)

Rectification rate for identified instances of non-compliance

Use litigation and enforcement options to drive a change in behaviour Serious, deliberate or repetitive non-compliance is addressed.

Addresses failure to comply.

Change behaviour through deterrence (general/specific).

Average time taken to commence civil penalty proceedings (KPI 7)

Litigation success rate (KPI 8)

Quantity and type of penalties imposed

Promote an impartial, flexible and innovative workforce Skills and experience of the ABCC’s workforce match the needs of the agency. Highly skilled and engaged workforce leads to better outcomes and innovation. APS Census results